Submitted graphic

This screen-captured image shows single-family homes offered through the county Land Bank, one of them, with photo, being a former Mount Vernon Fire Department station on Ames Street.

MOUNT VERNON — In January, the Knox County Land Bank began offering a webpage, part of the Area Development Foundation website, which uses realty-company prose to offer properties for sale to potential buyers. Included are abodes with potential to become one’s “dream home” with a bit of elbow grease involved.

Located online at, the site is maintained by Land Bank (Knox County Land Reutilization Corp.) President Jeff Gottke. He posts properties for sale and updates the site himself as needed, using text with which a Realtor would be impressed.

“Yeah, there is a marketing aspect to it,” he said.

The key point is being up front with the public about what properties the Land Bank has purchased, while offering potential “end users,” or buyers, the opportunity to buy such a property, he added. But to get the sale price itself, potential interested buyers need to contact Gottke directly by filling out a form on the same webpage.

Thursday, two houses were listed for sale. One is well known to some in the Mount Vernon area. It is a former Mount Vernon Fire Department station at 215 Ames St., which the Land Bank recently took title to compliments of the city of Mount Vernon. A photo of the “house” is provided.

“This former Mount Vernon Fire Department station is now for sale!” the item reads. “This one-of-a-kind property, zoned for single family use, would make a great fixer-upper.”

The webpage also lists a house for sale in Howard. A link to the property takes the interested party to a map on the Knox County Auditor’s website. Gottke offered that some properties being most featured will have photos, while others may not. The webpage also currently lists “Vacant Land For Sale,” including the former Shellmar food packaging property and its 27 acres, along with four home-ready lots in Apple Valley, and five parcels in Centerburg’s Rich Hill subdivision. Gottke lists the lots as “prime for development in a fast-growing area.”

Thus far, Gottke said he has received inquiries through the webpage regarding the lots of Apple Valley, and the former fire station. Those who are interested in finding out more information about the Land Bank before filling out the online form may call the Area Development Foundation/Land Bank at (740) 393-3806.

In other recent action during a brief Land Bank meeting held Tuesday, Land Bank board members discussed the possible purchase of a lot in Apple Valley, which Habitat for Humanity is interested in purchasing later through the Land Bank. The property would be used for Habitat’s community housing services. The property is on the Forfeited Lands list, Gottke noted. County Auditor Jonette Curry said it would be useful if the Land Bank contacted the county Water and Wastewater Department to determine which properties are listed as non-buildable before considering acquisitions. The motion passed unanimously.


Larry Di Giovanni: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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